Acts 7:19
The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.
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(19) So that they cast out their young children.—Literally, to make their children cast out so that they should not be brought forth alive. The latter verb is used in the LXX. narrative (Exodus 1:17).

7:17-29 Let us not be discouraged at the slowness of the fulfilling of God's promises. Suffering times often are growing times with the church. God is preparing for his people's deliverance, when their day is darkest, and their distress deepest. Moses was exceeding fair, fair toward God; it is the beauty of holiness which is in God's sight of great price. He was wonderfully preserved in his infancy; for God will take special care of those of whom he designs to make special use. And did he thus protect the child Moses? Much more will he secure the interests of his holy child Jesus, from the enemies who are gathered together against him. They persecuted Stephen for disputing in defence of Christ and his gospel: in opposition to these they set up Moses and his law. They may understand, if they do not wilfully shut their eyes against the light, that God will, by this Jesus, deliver them out of a worse slavery than that of Egypt. Although men prolong their own miseries, yet the Lord will take care of his servants, and effect his own designs of mercy.Dealt subtilly - He acted deceitfully; he used fraud. The cunning or deceitful attempt which is referred to, is his endeavour to weaken and destroy the Jewish people by causing their male children to be put to death, Exodus 1:22.

Our kindred - Our nation, or our ancestors.

And evil-entreated - Was unjust and cruel toward them.

So that ... - For that purpose, or to "cause" them to cast them out. He dealt with them in this cruel manner, hoping that the Israelites themselves would destroy their own sons, that they might not grow up to experience the same sufferings as their fathers had. The cunning or subtilty of Pharaoh extended to everything that he did to oppress, to keep under, and to destroy the children of Israel.

17. But when—rather, "as."

the time of the promise—that is, for its fulfilment.

the people grew and multiplied in Egypt—For more than two hundred years they amounted to no more than seventy-five souls; how prodigious, then, must have been their multiplication during the latter two centuries, when six hundred thousand men, fit for war, besides women and children, left Egypt!

Pharaoh resolves to deal (as he thought) wisely, Exodus 1:10, and it is acknowledged that the Egyptians dealt subtilly with them, Psalm 105:25. For they do not at once destroy them, which might have been hazardous, the Israelites being so numerous; neither could Egypt well spare at once so many inhabitants; (too great and sudden evacuations cause swoonings); but they endeavour their ruin by degrees:

1. Wasting them by hard labours.

2. Commanding the midwives privately to kill their males.

3. Casting out, or exposing, any whom they found spared.

Yet this people, attempted upon by so many secret and open means to bring them to destruction, God did preserve; and so he will his church, (which they did typify), maugre all the endeavours the most potent malice can use against it.

The same dealt subtilly with our kindred,.... See Exodus 1:10 he took crafty, and yet cruel methods, to diminish the children of Israel, and to humble them; weakening their strength by labour, that they might not be able to beget children; ordering the Hebrew midwives to kill all the males that were born; and charging all his people to drown such male children that should escape the hands of the midwives;

and evil entreated our fathers; keeping them to hard labour, in mortar and brick, and all rural service; in which he made them to serve with rigour, and thereby made their lives bitter to them; employing them in building cities, pyramids, walls, and towers; making ditches, throwing up trenches, cutting watercourses, and turning rivers, with other things; which he added, setting taskmasters over them, to afflict them with burdens:

so that they cast out their young children, or "by making their children cast outs": or as the Arabic version renders it, "by making that their children should be cast out": that is, by ordering his people to expose them to ruin, and to cast them in the rivers; and so the Syriac version, "and he commanded that their children be cast out"; for this refers to Pharaoh, and his orders to his officers and people, to cast out the male children of the Israelites; and not to the parents of the children, which our version and the Vulgate Latin incline to: for though Moses's mother, after she had hid him three months, put him into an ark of bulrushes, and laid him among the flags by the river's side, yet that was in order to save his life: whereas the end of the casting out of these young children was as follows,

to the end they might not live: for this has not respect unto the parents of the children, that they might not increase or multiply their offspring, but to the young children, that they being cast into the waters, might perish, and not live and become men; the Ethiopic version is rather a paraphrase, "and he commanded that they should kill every male that was born".

The same {i} dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.

(i) He devised a subtle plan against our stock, in that he commanded all the males to be cast out.

Acts 7:19. Κατασοφίζεσθαι] to employ cunning against any one, to beguile, LXX. Exodus 1:10. Only here in the N. T. But see Kypke, II. p. 37; and from Philo, Loesner, p. 186. Aorist participle, as in Acts 1:24.

τοῦ ποιεῖν ἔκθετα τὰ βρέφη αὐτῶν] a construction purely indicative of design; comp. on Acts 3:12. But it cannot belong to κατασοφισ. (so Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 846), but only to ἐκάκ. Comp. 1 Kings 17:20. He maltreated them, in order that they should expose their children, i.e. to force upon them the exposure of their children. On ποιεῖν ἔκθετα = ἐκθεῖναι, comp. ποιεῖν ἔκδοτον = ἐκδιδόναι, Herod. iii. 1; on ἔκθετος, Eur. Andr. 70.

εἰς τὸ μὴ ζωογ.] ne vivi conservarentur, the object of ποιεῖν ἔκθετα τ. βρ. αὐτ. Comp. LXX. Exodus 1:17; Luke 17:33. See on 2 Corinthians 8:6; Romans 1:20.

Acts 7:19. κατασοφισάμενος: in Exodus 1:10 we have the same verb “let us deal wisely with them” here translated “deal subtilly”; Vulgate, “circumveniens,” cf. Rhemish version: “circumventing our stock” (γένος, as in Acts 4:36); cf. Jdt 5:11; Jdt 10:19, in both passages the same verb is used, translated (R.V.), Acts 5:11, “dealt subtilly”—the Syriac, probably nearest to the Hebrew, “dealt wisely with them,” i.e., the Egyptians dealt so with the Hebrews. In the second passage, R.V., word is rendered “might deceive”; same verb in Syriac as in Exodus 1:10, Heb.; Speaker’s Commentary, “Apocrypha,” i., p. 290. Josephus and Philo use verb in same sense as in text; see for the force and meaning of κατά here, Page and Rendall.—ἐκάκωσε, cf. Exodus 1:11, where the same word is used of task-masters afflicting the people with burdens. For other ways in which Pharaoh is said to have afflicted the people, see Jos., Ant., ii., 9, 1.—τοῦ ποιεῖν κ.τ.λ., “that they [or he, margin] should cast out their babes,” R.V. But a comparison with Exodus 1:22 (LXX) justifies us in taking these words, as in R.V. margin, as describing the tyranny of Pharaoh, not as declaring that the parents themselves exposed their children. For the construction see Blass, Grammatik, p. 231; cf. 1 Kings 17:20, etc., genitive of result, see Page on Acts 3:12, and in loco, and Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses, p. 157.—ἔκθετα: only here in N.T. and not in LXX, but used with γόνος in Eur., Andr., 70.—εἰς τὸ: expressing the purpose, cf. Luke 5:17.—ζωογονεῖσθαι: in the active the verb is used three times, in Exodus 1, of the midwives saving the Hebrew children alive, Acts 7:17-18; Acts 7:22 (cf. Jdg 8:19, etc.), vivum conservare. In the N.T. the word is only used by St. Luke here and in his Gospel, chap. Acts 17:33, and once by St. Paul, 1 Timothy 6:13 (see R.V. margin). St. Chrysostom comments on the thought that where man’s help was despaired of, and the child was cast forth, then God’s benefit did shine forth conspicuous, Hom., xvi.

19. The same dealt subtilly with our kindred [race] The word is from the LXX. (Exodus 1:10), “Let us deal wisely (i.e. craftily) with them” are the words of the new king.

and evil entreated our fathers] Beside the hard tasks put upon the people according to the record in Exodus, Josephus adds (Antiq. ii. 9. 1) that the Egyptians “made them to cut a great many channels for the river, and set them to build pyramids, forced them to learn all sorts of mechanical arts and to accustom themselves to hard labour.”

so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live] Better, in causing their young children to be cast out, &c. The words are rather a description of what the Egyptian king did in his tyranny (Exodus 1:22), than (as A. V.) of what the Israelites were driven to by their despair.

Acts 7:19. Μὴ ζωογονεῖσθαι) viz. τὰ βρέφη. A word of the Septuagint: Exodus 1:17-18, and elsewhere frequently.

Verse 19. - Race for kindred, A.V., as in ver. 13; that they should cast out for so that they east out, A.V.; babes for young children, A.V. Acts 7:19Dealt subtilely (κατασοφισάμενος)

Only here in New Testament. Lit., to employ cunning against. See on σοφὸς, wise, James 3:13.

So that they cast out (τοῦ ποιεῖν ἔκθετα)

Lit., make exposed. The verb ἐκτίθημι, to set out, or place outside, is not uncommon in classical Greek for the exposure of a new-born child. Thus Herodotus, of Cyrus, exposed in infancy: "The herdsman's wife entreated him not to expose (ἐκθεῖναι) the babe" (i., 112). The rendering of the A. V., "so that they cast out," is correct, expressing the result, and not Pharaoh's design.

Young children (βρέφη)

Incorrect. See on 1 Peter 2:2. Rev., rightly, babes.

Live (ζωογονεῖσθαι)

Or, be preserved alive. See on Luke 17:33.

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